Blazing saddles on the horizon

Friendly rivalry will spur on a two-person team entered in this Saturday’s inaugural 8hrs@Jack’s mountain bike race.

The multi-lap relay event around the Jack’s Point golf estate – open to two-, three- and four-person teams as well as individuals – will be the third race contested by locals Maree Murdoch (right), 32, and Todd Read (left), 38.

The friends, who only started riding at the start of the year, raced alongside one another in the Motatapu event from Wanaka to Arrowtown, then in the inaugural Tour de Wakatipu during Easter.

Like the Tour de Wakatipu, 8hrs@Jack’s – on a new 8km trail – is organised by Southern Traverse director Geoff Hunt.

The Tour de Wakatipu attracted 845 riders but he expects a smaller field on Saturday.

Read thinks this will be a tougher event than the others as riders will push themselves harder knowing they’ve got a break every half-hour or so.

“I’ll certainly be trying to beat Maree’s lap times,” he says. Oxnevad runner-up

Queenstown 15-year-old Louise Oxnevad has made her first junior world tour tennis tournament final.

She teamed up with Celina Goetti of Singapore to win four straight matches at a New South Wales International Tennis Feder­­­ation grade four event in Gosford but lost the final to top-seeded Aussies Jennifer Nguyen and Sandy Vo 7-6 3-6. Louise and fellow Queenstowner Harry James, also 15, will play an elite event in Auckland this weekend.

Pick of bunch

Winter Games slopestyle gold medallists Shelley Gotlieb and Stef Zeestraten topped a snowboarding riders’ poll.

Queens­­­town’s Gotlieb won women’s rider of the year for the second consecutive time and Wanaka’s Zeestraten won men’s rider of the year. Wanaka teens Jay Walsh and Stefi Luxton took out rookie riders of the year.

The annual awards, organised by, are a chance for the snowboarding community to acknowledge their peers for the NZ winter.

Arrowtowners supreme

An Arrowtown golfing trio beat 15 other Otago teams to win the provincial ladies champion of champions tournament at their home course last week.

The team of one-handicapper Shani Arona, 17, who equalled the course record with 72, 18-handicapper Sandy Ellis and 26-handicapper Jan Spary won the two-round gross stableford event by 27 points from Queenstown to go on to the national finals.

Triple gold for Connor

Disabled Frankton teen Connor Endrodi is home after winning three gold medals at the Australian Paralympic Youth Games in Melbourne.

The 14-year-old, who has cerebral palsy, won the javelin, shot put and long jump at the international event.

“I thought Connor might do well but he’s absolutely stoked to have come away with three golds,” mum Ave Migias says.

Connor will compete in the Paralympics New Zealand National Championships in Wellington next month.